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  #1  
Old 01-08-2007, 06:20 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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How Does Hanging Kill?

A dumb question. I did a search, I found nothing.

It was a slow day at work so I wandered down the flight line. They have better coffee. We were talking about Saddam's execution. (The big objection from the Saudis was doing it on a holiday.)

Someone asked how hanging killed. I replied it severed the spinal cord, it was not a strangulation thing at all. One of the guys said but, if you sever the cord, that just disables the body below the cut, like Christopher Reave.

OK, so how does kill you so suddenly? Why wasn't Saddam just paralyzed until the lack of breathing got him?
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2007, 06:32 AM
FRDE FRDE is offline
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Christopher Reeve's spinal cord was not entirely broken.
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2007, 06:33 AM
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I was led to believe you can hang someone with the intention of letting them die of asphyxiation (favoured in the past for hanging, drawing and quartering so they'd still be alive enough to enjoy the rest of the show), or you can do a swift job which results in instant neck-breakage and that's what kills you.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2007, 06:34 AM
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From Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_b...edical_effects
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  #5  
Old 01-08-2007, 06:38 AM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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The effect of a broken neck depends on a number of factors, including how severe the spinal cord damage is and how high up on the cord the nerves are severed. An extremely sudden total break very close to the brainstem results in almost instant death. This is the goal of a 'humane' hanging; success relies a lot on the skill of the hangman in tying the noose correctly & setting the right length of drop, and a screw up in this department can result in a slow death by strangulation by the victim. This is why hanging is no longer used for executions in most civilized countries.
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  #6  
Old 01-08-2007, 07:08 AM
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At the other end of the spectrum, dropping the hangee too far (especially if the subject is rather heavy) can result in decapitation.
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2007, 07:57 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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Why would snapping the spinal cord way up high kill you? Isn't all the important messages going up rather than down? (I am off to read the link.)
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Old 01-08-2007, 08:34 AM
Dr. Lao Dr. Lao is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Saudi
Why would snapping the spinal cord way up high kill you? Isn't all the important messages going up rather than down? (I am off to read the link.)
You lose diaphram function and can not longer breathe.
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2007, 09:10 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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That is a slow death. Hanging (if done by a qualified professional) is darn fast. (I printed out the Wiki article and will read it at the office tomorrow.)
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  #10  
Old 01-08-2007, 12:08 PM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Saudi
That is a slow death. Hanging (if done by a qualified professional) is darn fast. (I printed out the Wiki article and will read it at the office tomorrow.)
Well, signals go in both directions. The theory is that the sudden jolt that high up shuts the nervous system down entirely. Another theory is that the shutdown is high enough up in the chain that all body responses are eliminated, but that death doesn't occur until oxygen starvation shuts down the brain processes. So, the hangee may look dead, but he's actually alive and conscious for several minutes, and merely completely inert.

Interviews with hanging victims have been inconclusive as to which of these theories is correct.
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  #11  
Old 01-08-2007, 12:36 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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The old-fashioned hangman's noose will tend to strangle them (the Nuremberg Tribunal executions are rumoured to have been botched in this fashion). The running noose, which the British hangman used, will break his neck if the drop is sufficient (too much and it will pull his head off)
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Old 01-08-2007, 12:39 PM
Sattua Sattua is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCSimmons
Well, signals go in both directions. The theory is that the sudden jolt that high up shuts the nervous system down entirely. Another theory is that the shutdown is high enough up in the chain that all body responses are eliminated, but that death doesn't occur until oxygen starvation shuts down the brain processes. So, the hangee may look dead, but he's actually alive and conscious for several minutes, and merely completely inert.
It's an interesting and plausible idea that the shock of the break makes the person black out. If all that was happening was that the spinal cord was being severed then, as Paul pointed out, death actually takes several minutes, as the body starves for oxygen. The question is, why isn't that person rolling eyes, opening mouth, and doing other things that the cranial nerves do during that time. Blacking out from the shock would explain it.
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  #13  
Old 01-10-2007, 12:02 AM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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Quote:
The old-fashioned hangman's noose will tend to strangle them (the Nuremberg Tribunal executions are rumoured to have been botched in this fashion).
If true, this was probably because the Nazis were notorious for always making sure hanging victims died a slow, agonizing death via strangulation by always using thin cords and very small (or no) drops.
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  #14  
Old 01-10-2007, 12:12 AM
XT XT is offline
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Its not exactly what the OP is looking for, but thought I'd post this from Unca Cecil:

Quote:
Trying to determine what news organizations mean they say somebody was "killed instantly" is almost impossible, and pointless besides--reporters aren't trained clinicians. That said, your friend is, I'm afraid, wrong. There are other ways for somebody to be "killed instantly," as long as we define what "instantly" means.

The main problem is that the moment of death is not always precise. Some mechanisms of death cause a rapid loss of consciousness--so the person would feel no pain--but actual physiological death may take a few minutes. For example, your friend's suggestion of decapitation would cause a rapid loss of consciousness, but the heart may beat for a few seconds or more before blood loss causes arrest.
True, when the neck is broken 'death' doesn't instantly follow. But for all practical purposes the death is as 'instant' as decapitation...at least wrt the effect on the hangee. Completely severing the spinal cord is going to cause the effect of complete loss of feeling in the rest of the body...and probably shock induced blackout. The heart is going to stop, the lungs are going to sieze up and the person is essentially dead. True, it might take a few minutes before the body technically is dead, but for all practical purposes the effect on the person being hanged is instant death...provided the hanging was done correctly (big if there).

-XT
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  #15  
Old 01-10-2007, 01:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants
If true, this was probably because the Nazis were notorious for always making sure hanging victims died a slow, agonizing death via strangulation by always using thin cords and very small (or no) drops.
Probably not. The Nazis involved in the Nuremberg Tribunal executions were the hangees, not the hangers.
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  #16  
Old 01-10-2007, 02:56 AM
chowder chowder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk VII
The old-fashioned hangman's noose will tend to strangle them (the Nuremberg Tribunal executions are rumoured to have been botched in this fashion). The running noose, which the British hangman used, will break his neck if the drop is sufficient (too much and it will pull his head off)
I understand that Albert Pierrepoint who was at the time the official British hangman executed the Nazi criminals.

This being so he would have used the British method and deaths would have been instantaneous.

FWIW in his book he states that he never derived any pleasure at all from his job apart from hanging the Nazis
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  #17  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:45 AM
WotNot WotNot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chowder
I understand that Albert Pierrepoint who was at the time the official British hangman executed the Nazi criminals.

This being so he would have used the British method and deaths would have been instantaneous.

FWIW in his book he states that he never derived any pleasure at all from his job apart from hanging the Nazis
No, Pierrepoint was present (I think as an official observer), but I'm quite sure the major Nazi war criminals were executed by the then-current US Army methods, which I suspect may have been the "standard drop". You can clearly see in photos that the "hangman's noose" was used, which Pierrepoint would have had nothing to do with.
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  #18  
Old 01-10-2007, 08:14 AM
chowder chowder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WotNot
No, Pierrepoint was present (I think as an official observer), but I'm quite sure the major Nazi war criminals were executed by the then-current US Army methods, which I suspect may have been the "standard drop". You can clearly see in photos that the "hangman's noose" was used, which Pierrepoint would have had nothing to do with.
I'm afraid you're wrong my friend.

Pierrepoint hanged many Nazi war criminals including Josef Kramer, Irma Grese and also Lord Haw Haw.

He hanged many of the female Belsen guards, the youngest being hanged first as he considered she would be the most frightened.

Incidentally, it was his speed and efficiency which convinced the Allied powers that a British
hangman was best suited for the "job" in hand.
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  #19  
Old 01-10-2007, 08:18 AM
chowder chowder is offline
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FWIW Wiki gives a listing of criminals that Pierrepoint hanged
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:22 AM
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party is offline
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According to this cite, different methods of execution were used depending upon who was carrying them out. The British used long drop in private, the Polish and Russians used slow hanging in private or public and the Americans used the long drop in private and public.

It also mentions chowder's claim that Pierrepont hanged the youngest (21!) Belsen guard first.
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  #21  
Old 01-10-2007, 10:29 AM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sattua
It's an interesting and plausible idea that the shock of the break makes the person black out. If all that was happening was that the spinal cord was being severed then, as Paul pointed out, death actually takes several minutes, as the body starves for oxygen. The question is, why isn't that person rolling eyes, opening mouth, and doing other things that the cranial nerves do during that time. Blacking out from the shock would explain it.
I got hit in the jaw when I collided with my raquetball partner. It was a very, very minor tap, but it just happened to be where there are a helluva lot of nerves in my face. I dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes! I remember vaguely that it felt like an electric shock.

I have no problem at all believing that a much more intense version, caused by your neck snapping, would have the same"short-circuit" effect and knock you out until vital oxygen starvation ended brain function completely.
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  #22  
Old 01-10-2007, 12:13 PM
WotNot WotNot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chowder
I'm afraid you're wrong my friend.

Pierrepoint hanged many Nazi war criminals including Josef Kramer, Irma Grese and also Lord Haw Haw.

He hanged many of the female Belsen guards, the youngest being hanged first as he considered she would be the most frightened.

Incidentally, it was his speed and efficiency which convinced the Allied powers that a British
hangman was best suited for the "job" in hand.
Pierrepoint certainly executed some war criminals, but not those sentenced at the main Nuremberg trial, who are the ones that I assumed Mark VII meant, and certainly not all of them, which your post implied.

I apologise if my assumption has caused any confusion, but given that, I think you'll find my post stands.
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  #23  
Old 01-10-2007, 12:38 PM
Pjen Pjen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCSimmons
This is why hanging is no longer used for executions in most civilized countries.
I think you will find that all civilized countries no longer use judicial killings at all.
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  #24  
Old 01-10-2007, 12:39 PM
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No apology required.

My bad for thinking that you meant that Pierrepoint had hanged none of the war criminals.



*note to self...read the bloody post before replying
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  #25  
Old 01-10-2007, 02:46 PM
Will Repair Will Repair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sublight
At the other end of the spectrum, dropping the hangee too far (especially if the subject is rather heavy) can result in decapitation.
IIRC, the US Army has data, and in 1969 published, data on weight and height to prevent this.
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  #26  
Old 01-10-2007, 02:52 PM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
I think you will find that all civilized countries no longer use judicial killings at all.
And here I thought this was GQ, not GD (or the Pit). I'm rather surprised the mod of this forum let this kind of comment slide (probably just missed it or didn't think it worthy of comment). The question of capital punishment is debatable...its not a fact that countries using or not using capital punishment somehow determines if they are civilized. Of course, this was your not so transparent way of simply taking a dig at the US, eh Pjen? FTR, I agree...the US SHOULD get rid of capital punishment (not because its uncivilized however). This, however is a debatable point.

If you want to debate the merits of capital punishment, or you wish to try and continue your claim about how barbaric the US is wrt you civilized and cultured Euro's, feel free to start a debate about it in GD...or take it to the pit where most of your posts concerning the US belong.

-XT
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  #27  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:18 PM
Pjen Pjen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xtisme
And here I thought this was GQ, not GD (or the Pit). I'm rather surprised the mod of this forum let this kind of comment slide (probably just missed it or didn't think it worthy of comment). The question of capital punishment is debatable...its not a fact that countries using or not using capital punishment somehow determines if they are civilized. Of course, this was your not so transparent way of simply taking a dig at the US, eh Pjen? FTR, I agree...the US SHOULD get rid of capital punishment (not because its uncivilized however). This, however is a debatable point.

If you want to debate the merits of capital punishment, or you wish to try and continue your claim about how barbaric the US is wrt you civilized and cultured Euro's, feel free to start a debate about it in GD...or take it to the pit where most of your posts concerning the US belong.

-XT
Calm down now.

SCSimmons said:

"This is why hanging is no longer used for executions in most civilized countries."

A neutral comment with which you did not disagree or suggest that he took it to the Pit or to GD.

I replied with an amendment of his sentiments, except extended to all executions, saying:

"I think you will find that all civilized countries no longer use judicial killings at all."

Why is it that you find SCSimmons post to be OK, yet find that my similar comment is for the Pit or GD.

So its OK for one poster to imply that hanging is not to be engaged in by civilized countries, but not OK for another poster to imply that all execution methods are not to be engaged in by civilized countries.

A little sensitive are we?

See me in the Pit if you wish to discuss further.
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  #28  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:24 PM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
A neutral comment with which you did not disagree or suggest that he took it to the Pit or to GD.
Because his was a statement that was quasi-related to the thread...and actually has some basis in, you know, fact (i.e. hanging really ISN'T done in most countries anymore, civilized or otherwise). Your's was a statement that is debatable (i.e. that capital punishment itself is the mark of a country being uncivilized)...and offensive to boot (since your intended target was quite transparently the US). As you intended it to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
So its OK for one poster to imply that hanging is not to be engaged in by civilized countries, but not OK for another poster to imply that all execution methods are not to be engaged in by civilized countries.
Because, as I sad above, one actually had something to do with the thread and had a basis in fact (this being GQ and all), and one was meant to be a dig, and is of a debatable subject. But hey...I guess its all ok since you slipped it in without getting spanked by a mod. So its all good, ehe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
See me in the Pit if you wish to discuss further.
You haven't annoyed me enough yet for me to bother, friend Pjen. Perhaps some day.

-XT
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  #29  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:32 PM
Pjen Pjen is offline
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SCSimmons said:

"This is why hanging is no longer used for executions in most civilized countries."

Hanging is a method of execution in Delaware, New Hampshire and Washington.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004916.html.

Oh dear, SCSimmons seems to be saying almost the same as me, yet doesn't raise your ire.

As I said, a little sensitive eh?
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  #30  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:37 PM
XT XT is offline
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You wouldn't be trolling, would you Pjen? Source:

Quote:
The last public hanging legally conducted in the United States (and also the last public execution in the United States) was that of Rainey Bethea, who was publicly hanged on August 14, 1936, in Owensboro, Kentucky.
As I said above, his statement was at least quasi-related to the thread (which is about hanging), and it has a basis in fact, while your's in only tangentially related to the thread and is based on your own opinion and has nothing to do with fact...i.e. the point is debatable and thus should be in GD.

You are boring me at this point. If you wish to continue this, start your own Pit thread or just drop it, ehe?

-XT
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  #31  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:44 PM
XT XT is offline
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Not that it has much to do with the thread, but I wanted to correct something I said. Same source as above.

Quote:
At present, only the states of Washington and New Hampshire still retain hanging as an option. Laws in Delaware were changed in 1996 to specify lethal injection, except for those convicted prior to 1996 who were sentenced to hanging. These convicts were allowed to choose lethal injection. If a choice wasn't made, hanging was the default method. This was the case in the 1996 execution of Billy Bailey, the most recent hanging in American history. Since the hanging of Bailey, no Delaware prisoner fits in this category, thus the practice is ended de facto, and the gallows have been dismantled. In New Hampshire, if it is found to be "impractical" to carry out the punishment of death by lethal injection, then the condemned will under the law be hanged.[19] Other forms of capital punishment, such as the electric chair and more recently lethal injection, have largely replaced hanging.
Bolding mine. Appearently the last person to be hanged in the US wasn't in 1936, but in 1996...again, appearently by choice (gods know why anyone would choose this method). As you can see from the above, the practic has (de facto) been eliminated in any event from the US.

Sorry for the continued hijack.

-XT
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  #32  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:47 PM
Pjen Pjen is offline
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You seem to be debating in GQ or engaging in amateur modding.

As a matter of fact, three hangings have been carried out in the US since 1976:

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/deathworld1.html

"Today, while more than half of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, the United States continues to use the death penalty in all but 12 states (plus the District of Columbia). From January 1977 through April 2001, 710 executions were carried out in this country: 545 by lethal injection, 149 by electrocution, 11 by gas chamber, three by hanging, and two by firing squad."

In summary, SCSimmons makes a comment that most civilized countries have dispensed with hanging. I made the similar point that all civilized have dispensed with executions- intending to point out that hanging is not particularly cruel or unusual (after the botched execution in Florida last week, no-one is going to claim that execution by lethal injection is pleasant- 30 minutes to die in agony.)

My post was meant to point out that hanging and other methods of execution are equally abhorrent and so have been rejected by many countries- same as the point made by SCSimmons about hanging alone.

Maybe you should give up the borrowed moderator's hat.
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  #33  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:50 PM
D_Odds D_Odds is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
SCSimmons said:

"This is why hanging is no longer used for executions in most civilized countries."

Hanging is a method of execution in Delaware, New Hampshire and Washington.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004916.html.

Oh dear, SCSimmons seems to be saying almost the same as me, yet doesn't raise your ire.

As I said, a little sensitive eh?
He said used. While it might be legal, it isn't used.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/state/
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/arti...scid=8&did=245
Delaware: Subject can choose hanging only if sentenced before 6/13/86. The last hanging to take place was January 25, 1996 in Delaware. As of July 2003 no inmates on death row were elligible to choose this alternative.
New Hampshire: Hanging if death by injection not possible. Number of executions since 1976: 0
Washington: Choice of injection or hanging. Number of executions since 1976: 4

Number of Hanging Deaths in the U.S. since 1976: 3 (2 in Washington, 1 in Delaware)
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  #34  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:56 PM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
You seem to be debating in GQ or engaging in amateur modding.
And you seem bound and determined to hijack this thread for your standard purposes of bashing on the US.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
As a matter of fact, three hangings have been carried out in the US since 1976:
Thats nice...whats it got to do with the subject being discussed again? Oh thats right...nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
In summary, SCSimmons makes a comment that most civilized countries have dispensed with hanging. I made the similar point that all civilized have dispensed with executions- intending to point out that hanging is not particularly cruel or unusual (after the botched execution in Florida last week, no-one is going to claim that execution by lethal injection is pleasant- 30 minutes to die in agony.)
In summary, you seem to have difficulty reading and understanding what I said on this subject up thread, so there is no point in me repeating it again. C'est la vie I guess...you are like a dog with a bone. You simply won't let this go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
My post was meant to point out that hanging and other methods of execution are equally abhorrent and so have been rejected by many countries- same as the point made by SCSimmons about hanging alone.
Your post was as transparent as always...no need to explain it Pjen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
Maybe you should give up the borrowed moderator's hat.
I certainl will (it doesn't fit well in any case) if you promise to stop hijacking the thread. Deal?

-XT
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  #35  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:56 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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the Major German War Criminals were hanged by the American hangman, whose name, I think, was John C. Woods
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  #36  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:57 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjen
As a matter of fact, three hangings have been carried out in the US since 1976:
A little more detail:

05 January 1993 Westley Allan Dodd , hanged in Washington.

27 May 1994 Charles Campbell, hanged in Washington

25 January 1996 Billy Bailey, hanged in Delaware

From http://deathpenaltyinfo.org/executions.php
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  #37  
Old 01-10-2007, 05:02 PM
Pjen Pjen is offline
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I repeat, I didn't hijack the thread, I merely amplified a comment made by SCSimmons. His comment already implicated the USA as an uncivilized country because the USA has hanging on its statute book and has used it only a decade ago. I didn't mention the USA until you claimed that my post was about a:

"claim about how barbaric the US is wrt you civilized and cultured Euro's"

You brought up the subject of the USA's involvement, hence my cite to show that the US was implicated in the original mention of hanging being abandoned by most civilized countries..

It is you who have engaged in posts more suitable to GD or the Pit.

I'd check you knee reflexes if I were you, your knee-jerk seems oversensitive.
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  #38  
Old 01-10-2007, 05:36 PM
Renee Renee is offline
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In this thread Gabriela describes hanging death in detail. Here is her post: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...7&postcount=15

Whatever happened to Gabriela, anyway?
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  #39  
Old 01-10-2007, 05:40 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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Pjen and xtisme.

Enough. Take it somewhere else.

samclem GQ moderator
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